Six Must-See Live Shows in December

grace potter and the nocturnalsPhoto by Adrien Broom via Wikimedia Commons

In the midst of preparing for the holidays, we get those constant consumerist reminders: the trusty TV holiday ads, the classic tunes on the radio, and the oversized, red-felted ribbons in immediate eyeshot the moment we stick our fur-booted feet into a shopping mall. Though we have already highlighted classic performances from the Mayor’s Holiday Specials, here are some other must-see live events in December for those looking to curtail Christmas for now.



For a two-week long December run, Memphis, the Tony Award-winner for Best Musical in 2010, will return to Boston with its fiery 1950s underground dance club beats. Follow the story of singers during the era, their ascent to stardom, and the very beginning of rock n’ rolllive and across the airwavesthat blossomed out of Memphis, Tennessee. Think: passion, love, dance, and the intertwined vibes of gospel, blues, southern rock, and folk.

$27-$129; Dec. 11-23; Citi Emerson Colonial Theatre, 106 Boylston St.; 866-348-9738;


Experience the whimsical tale of a young prince Pippin and his quest to find a purpose to life, and his decision to rise up and revolt against his father, Charlemagne. Pippin struggles and fails, and later decides that taking his father’s place does not seem to quench his thirst for true meaning, yet when he meets the widow Catherine, things begin to change. Featuring classic Broadway songs including “Extraordinary” and “Corner of the Sky,” the American Repertory Theater’s rendition of Pippin will surely prove to enchant the audience.

$25-$50; Dec. 5-Jan. 20; Loeb Drama Center, 64 Brattle St., Cambridge; 617-547-8300;

Of Mice and Men

Moonbox Productions presents Of Mice and Men, based on the classic American literature by John Steinbeck that most of us read in high school. The plot centers around two main characters, George and Lennie, and their journey to fulfill the American dream in post-Depression California. As the odd pair struggles to gain financial stability by taking up work on a ranch, friendship, hope, social inequality, economic despair, and other factors take part in shaping the complex yet engaging storyline. Don’t miss the chance to see it come to life.

$25-$30; Dec. 7-22; Boston Center for the Arts Plaza Theatre, 539 Tremont St.; 617-933-8600;

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals

Straight out of Waitsfield, Vermont, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals began as an indie group, then later signed a deal with Hollywood Records. The band has taken on a mix of genres such as hard rock, blues rock, folk rock, and alternative rock. They have travelled the nation, performing at popular music festivals like Bonnaroo and opening for bigwig musicians like Dave Matthews Band, and they have rightfully enjoyed increasing success since their start. Some of the group’s hit singles include “Apologies,” “Paris (Ooh La La),” and “You and Tequila,” featuring Kenny Chesney.

$33+; Dec. 1 at 5:30 p.m.; House of Blues, 15 Lansdowne St.; 888-693-2583;

The Temptations

Travel back in time next month with The Temptations, who first took to the stage in the ’60s as a group of five (the “Classic Five”) after signing with Motown Records. Having sold tens of millions of albums, the group will bring to Boston their funk, doo-wop, disco, and soul vibes. And we will of course expect them to perform some of their hits like “My Girl” and “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone.” The group influenced many during the Motown era and beyond, and continues to bring forth their energy and talent in front of live audiences in this day in age.

$63+; Dec. 5 at 8 p.m.; Wilbur Theatre, 246 Tremont St.; 617-248-9700;

The Killers

While you might know them best for their early singles like “Somebody Told Me” and “Mr. Brightside,” The Killers are currently conquering sets across the world on their “Battle Born” tour, their newest album released in June 2012. An American rock band formed in Las Vegas in 2001, they haven’t been around for long, yet their four hit studio albums have sparked their expanding popularity. This past summer, the band headlined in festivals in North America and Europe, and will trek to Australia next year to perform at “The Big Day Out” festival. Lead singer Brandon Flowers and crew will be hitting up Boston in mid-December at Agganis Arena.

$35+; Dec. 17 at 7:30 p.m.; Agganis Arena, 925 Commonwealth Ave.; 617-358-7000;